Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

TRAILER - The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 (Denzel Washington)

I wrote about this earlier this week. You can read that post HERE.

Here's the recently released trailer for the film which hits theatres on June 12th. I'll be there! Thanks Sergio for the heads-up! Below that is the trailer for the 1973 adaptation of the same novel which the film is based on, starring Walter Matthau.

You can also watch the full 104 minute film below, courtesy of


Looks like New Yorkers, like myself, will get to see
Push: Based On A Novel By Sapphire, before the rest of humanity does... well, the rest of humanity who didn't see the film at Sundance last month.

The annual New Directors/New Films (ND/NF) event courtesy of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, unveiled its list of 25 films, representing 20 countries, in a program “dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging directors,” and Push is one of them.

The films will screen in their New York premieres or, in some cases, their United States and world premieres, at the MoMA, and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, from March 25 - April 5.

Push will be screened as the series’s closing night feature. And guess who will be there to take it all in? Yours truly! I'd guess that Lee Daniels might be present, along with some of the cast. That would be a coup!

So, as Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company continue their court battle for distribution rights to the film, Daniels and company clearly don't plan on letting that prevent them from running with it wherever and whenever they deem most advantageous.

Good for them!

Once tickets are available on March 13th, I'm certain they will sell out rapidly. My calendar is marked! And you can be sure that I'll post a review afterwards.

Check out the list of the other 24 films screening at the event HERE. As is the case every year at ND/NF, there's a nice, eclectic group of films that are guaranteed to challenge and please.

TV - NAACP Image Awards (Zzzzz...)

So... is anyone planning on watching the NAACP Image Awards celebration tonight at 8PM on Fox? Does anybody care?

I may have flipped through a few times if I was going to be home, just so I can write about it tomorrow. Alas, I won't be.

I don't think I've ever watched an NAACP Image Awards broadcast - certainly not fully. It seems rather pointless, given the unfortunate dearth of worthwhile nominations, year-after-year. When the "Best Picture" nominees include Tyler Perry’s
The Family That Preys, or a white actress is nominated in the "Best Actress" category - in this case, Dakota Fanning for her performance in The Secret Life of Bees - how the hell am I supposed to take the ceremony seriously?

I can't.

If the awards committee can't find enough truly worthy African American nominees for each category, maybe the entire program should be terminated.

OR, don't insult us with poor selections, and instead consider stripping the number of nominees down to accommodate only those that most will agree are verifiably deserving.

OR, instead of looking to Hollywood for inspiration, can I suggest some consideration for independent film and filmmakers?

I applaud their attempts; I understand the intent, and it's a commendable one. However, I subscribe to the school of thought that preaches: if you can't do something well enough, especially in such a competitive climate, then maybe it's best not to do it at all!

OR, turn the reigns over to someone (or some people) willing to take some risks, and produce a memorable, worthwhile event!

By the way, I hear that Chris Brown is nominated in the "Outstanding Male Artist" category. I certainly hope he doesn't win, given his recent horrific abuse charges. Major contusions on both sides of Rihanna's face, with serious swelling and bruising, including a split lip and a bloody nose, as well as bite marks on one of her arms and several fingers? Damn Chris. Damn.

You can check out the entire list of nominees HERE.

TRAILER - American Violet (Alfre Woodard, Charles S Dutton)


I featured this film under my "Film Finds" category a few weeks ago. You can read about it all
HERE to catch up.

A trailer for it has finally surfaced, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films (the film's distributor) and AOL BlackVoices.

A theatrical release is in the film's future - April 17th exactly. I'll see it!


PRINT - Halle Berry In Essence (On Angela Davis Film, Going Bald And Black Men)

So, as you've likely already heard, starlet, and new mother, Halle Berry (Lady Aphrodite to many wishful wannabe Adonises), graces the cover of the current issue of Essence magazine (March).

A fine cover it is, but it's what on the inside that really counts, right? And I mean literally on the inside... of the magazine that is.

In it, Halle is interviewed, and dishes on a variety of subjects, some that are certain to raise some eyebrows; so brace yourselves... or not :o)

First - I had no idea she had an Angela Davis project in the works, labeling a labor of love, much like her current project, Frankie & Alice, which she says she worked on for 10 years. (I wrote about Frankie & Alice previously on this blog, including some risque pics of Halle on set. Read that post HERE).

So, how's this going to work, since we previously heard that some French-Algerian director has already secured $20 to $30 million in funding to produce an Angela Davis bio-pic, potentially starring Beyonce Knowles. Remember that? Who would you rather see play Angela Davis, Halle Berry or Beyonce Knowles?

But if each project is indeed unique, then we just might see 2 Angela Davis bio-pics in theatres in coming years - likely a few years part. However, I seriously doubt that.

Second - Looking forward to her next production, she says she will indeed be shaving all her hair off for the role she plays in the romantic comedy, Nappily Ever After - a project that's been in gestation for quite a few years now, with Halle attached from inception. It looks like it's a done deal, and will go into production sometime soon, for a 2010 release date.

Why will she be going bald for the role? Nappily Ever After, based on a book of the same name by Trisha R. Thomas, is about a young woman, Venus Johnston, who grows weary of her relationship with her boyfriend, and having to maintain her long, dark hair. Resolving to create a new, independent life for herself, she leaves her boyfriend and cuts her hair off. Drama, hilarity and hijinx of course ensue. I haven't read the book. Maybe some of you have.

And lastly - Regarding black men and her previously relationships, Halle mockingly states, "I tried black men. I tried... I married two black men. You know I tried." The article states that she said this "in a mock southern accent," implying that she was joking - at least, somewhat. She then said, "I don't hold all black males responsible because of the two bad eggs I got. I even dated black men after my last divorce, but this is just where I found love." So, it's not that big of a deal, but I'm guessing it might rub some the wrong way.

That's it! An Angela Davis biopic in the works; going bald for Nappily Ever After; and throwing black men under the bus!! Joking... somewhat. David Justice and Eric Benet ruined it for the rest of us. Bastards! :o)

To read the entire article, you'll have to buy the magazine, or subscribe via their website. But you can see a preview of it in the video below, or the link that follows it:


TRAILER - Inglorious Basterds

No... it's not "black cinema," but if you listened to my last podcast recording, you would know that I listed it as 1 of my most anticipated films of the year! I haven't always been the biggest Quentin Tarantino fan; but, I read the script for
Inglorious Basterds last year, and thought it was quite a riot. The man certainly knows how to entertain!

You can read my review of the screenplay HERE
, and then watch the trailer below.

2010 SLATE - Denzel & Tom Together For The First Time

A few years ago, this would have made for quite an intriguing pairing, when both actors were sure bets at the box office. Denzel Washington still is somewhat, although he's been quickly overtaken by Will Smith; however, Tom Cruise's star has fallen quite a bit in recent years, and he's simply not the hot property he once was. Both, I'd say, are less appealing to the coveted 18 to 35 year old male demographic; as each has aged, so have the characters they have played, as well as the audience that appreciates them.

However, I'm sure, when the below film hits theatres next year, it'll still be a draw.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Those moviegoers hoping to see Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise face off on the big screen will get their chance with MGM's big-budget adaptation of "The Matarese Circle." Cruise is in final negotiations to take on the role of the Russian spy Vasili Taleniekov, mortal enemy of American intelligence operative Brandon Scofield, to be played by Washington.

"Eastern Promises" director David Cronenberg will direct the globetrotting potential franchise-launcher.


Adapted by "Wanted" scribes Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, and Cronenberg, from a 1979 Robert Ludlum novel, the "Matarese" storyline follows two decades-long arch-enemies who are forced into a distrustful collaboration against a wide-reaching political conspiracy orchestrated by a mysterious organization called the Matarese.

Ludlum drew inspiration from David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission in the 1970s. But the screenwriters have updated the timeframe from the Cold War to a contemporary setting.

Having David Cronenberg at the helm is intriguing. David Cronenberg directing a globetrotting, big-budget, Hollywood action movie, with 2 mega stars and their egos?

This I have to see... I love most of Cronenberg's work, and looking forward to seeing what he does playing in a much larger sandbox.

I'm not at all familiar with the Robert Ludlum novel... yet another book to add to my lengthy list of books to read. The man's estate (he died in 2001) must be well endowed, so to speak. All 3 Bourne movies were based on books his wrote. Others have been previously adapted as well.

Given that it's Cronenberg, I hope the production studio pushes for an R-rated film; All the Bourne movies were rated PG13. They were all good, especially the 2 directed by Paul Greengrass. But I can only imagine how much grittier and real they could have been if allowed to shaken up the MPAA.

via THR

FYI - Michael Moore Asks For Your Help With His Next Film

I work in the financial industry, but my trade isn't in finance specifically. I'm what you might call a tech geek. If I was a broker, analyst, adviser, fund manager, etc, I'd probably volunteer - as long as my identity isn't revealed.

For those of you who are... read his plea below:

Will You Help Me With My Next Film? ...a request from Michael Moore

February 11, 2009


I am in the middle of shooting my next movie and I am looking for a few brave people who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry to come forward and share with me what they know. Based on those who have already contacted me, I believe there are a number of you who know "the real deal" about the abuses that have been happening. You have information that the American people need to hear. I am humbly asking you for a moment of courage, to be a hero and help me expose the biggest swindle in American history.

All correspondence with me will be kept confidential. Your identity will be protected and you will decide to what extent you wish to participate in telling the greatest crime story ever told.

The important thing here is for you to step up as an American and do your duty of shedding some light on this financial collapse. A few good people have already come forward, which leads me to believe there are many more of you out there who know what's going on. Here's your chance to let your fellow citizens in on the truth.

If you have any info that would help, please contact me at my private email address:

For the rest of you on my email list who don't work in the financial industry, you're probably wondering, "What the heck is this all about? I thought he said he was making a romantic comedy!"

Well, I just can't say much right now. I'm sure you can understand why. One thing I can tell you is that you're gonna like this movie when I'm done with it. Oh, yeah...

So, again, if you work for a bank, a brokerage firm or an insurance company -- or if you have seen things or heard things that you believe the American people have a right to know -- please contact me at

Thank you in advance for your help!

Michael Moore

I'm sure we can all guess what exactly his next project is going to be about, based on the letter above. Although, I wonder if he really does need the help he's requesting, or if this is just a showman's stunt, to get us excited about what's to come.

I'm sure this letter will be circulated widely over the next few days, and I'm sure he'll receive a ton of emails in response - some volunteering, and some telling him to go to hell (he does have his share of enemies out there).

But, I suppose I can understand how it might be a challenge for him to attract those who work in the financial sector, even though he is Michael Moore. Although, it is because he is who he is that some may not be willing to talk to him, forcing him to take measures like this one - a plea letter.

And why would anyone want to talk to a person whose likely intent is to lambaste the industry in which you work. Unless you're on your way out, or just don't give a damn!


Good Wednesday Morning!


Another unusually warm and sunny day in New York City - we're close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit today (15.5 degrees Celsius). I actually ran my AC a little bit this morning as I got ready for work.

Ok... I'm lying... I didn't. But it's warm out there today!

So, what's happened since my last post?

FIRST - Elvis Mitchell and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders are readying a sequel to their acclaimed HBO special The Black List: Vol. 1, assembling a group of noted African-Americans sharing candid stories and revealing insights into the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in the U.S.

For Vol. 2, a new crop of influential people such as Motown Records pioneer Suzanne de Passe, Academy Award nominated Laurence Fishburne and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles were interviewed.

The 1-hour documentary will debut Feb. 26 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on HBO.

SECOND - According to Forbes Magazine, Will Smith is the world's most bankable star! He's at the top of a list that includes names like Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Denzel Washington - all of whom are in the top 10. It's obviously still a white man's world. Of the top 20 names on the list, just 5 are either African American or female. The rest are white men - specifically white men over 40! You can see the entire list of 100 names HERE.

THIRD - The Hollywood Reporter details the journey Lee Daniels' Push took from Sundance winner, to the subject of a court battle between two powerful film companies - Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company. It's an interesting, revealing read, giving the reader some insight into how these closed-door deals can sometimes go awry. Read it HERE.

FOURTH - Queen Latifah will be performing at the Oscars later this month, singing the song "I'll Be Seeing You," from the 1938 Broadway musical Right This Way. When I first read this, I thought, "wait a minute; Dana Owens can't sing; she's raps." But then I remembered that she actually CAN sing, as she did belt out a few notes on several of her albums in the 90s. AND, she was nominated for her performance in Chicago, the adaptation of the Broadway musical. The Academy Awards broadcast happens on February 22nd, on ABC.

FIFTH - Angela Bassett will be stepping behind the camera for the very first time, as director of a film based on a book by Percival Everett called Erasure, stating, "I always thought that I had a third eye, but it's frightening and I always wonder if I can pull it off... It's a good story. I've had opportunities in the past to direct smaller, independent movies and television shows. I never want to do it just for the heck of it."

Erasure has been sitting in my ever-growing pile of books to read for about a year now. It's about an African-American writer who "overcomes" his intellectual tendency to "write white" and ends up penning a parody of ghetto fiction that becomes a huge commercial and literary success. I've moved the book to the top of my cue, right after I finish Reginald Lewis's Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?. I'll report on my "findings" afterwards. Read Wilson Morales's interview with Bassett, in which she reveals her first directorial effort, HERE.

SIXTH - Lastly, below, watch Viola Davis discuss her role in Tyler Perry's upcoming Madea Goes To Jail. I don't know if I've ever heard anyone speak about a Tyler Perry film with this much depth and complexity. You'd think she was talking about a Toni Morrison novel. Well... not really... but I'm sure you catch my drift.

AND That's news to me...

POSTER - The Taking Of Pelham 123 (Denzel Washington)


click to enlarge

Courtesy of, above is the first official poster for the Denzel Washington/John Travolta/Tony Scott-directed remake of the 1974 heist film of the same name, which starred Walter Matthau as Lieutenant Zachary Garber, a New York City Transit Authority policeman whose routine is interrupted by the hijacking of a subway train.

In the above remake, Denzel assumes the role of Lieutenant Garber, and Travolta, looking quite menacing in the poster, plays the lead hijacker.

I've seen the original 1974 film, which, by the way was an adaptation of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, a novel by Morton Feedgood, published in 1973. The French Connection it is not, but it held my attention for its entire running time, despite a storyline that wasn't entirely plausible.

I'm sure, with Tony Scott (brother of Ridley Scott) at the helm of the 2009 remake, we can expect some of his trademark frenetic camerawork, editing, and sound design. But let's hope not! Someone close to him needs to remind Tony that he's not in film school anymore!

He and Denzel certainly like working together; this is the 4th time they've paired up since 1995. The other 3: Crimson Tide (liked it), Man On Fire (liked it), and Deja Vu (hated it)

By the way, some of you may be thrilled to know that Gbenga Akinnagbe, aka "Chris Partlow" from The Wire, co-stars.

The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 opens this summer - June 12th specifically - as one of Columbia's tentpole releases.

It's not a "must-see" for me, but I'll probably check it out anyway.


TUESDAY FUNNIES - Episode 2 Of "The District"

I already explained what this is in a previous post which you can read HERE, where you will also find the first episode.

Here's the second in the Newsweek series called The District:

FYI - "Push" Foreign Sales


And who says "black films" don't sell overseas?

I've heard/read that sentiment expressed numerous times by various studio execs as reasons for why "black films" aren't eagerly funded, since foreign box office ticket sales do matter, and can greatly influence a single film's bottomline - "black films don't sell overseas."


Here's one that apparently is, courtesy of indieWIRE:

Lee Daniels’ Sundance jury and audience winner, “Push” is finding homes abroad as New York-based sales company Elephant Eye makes international deals following the feature’s recent lucrative deal with Lionsgate, which has resulted in a law suit for the film with The Weinstein Company.

Elephant Eye partners Kim Jose and David Robinson negotiated deals at the European Film Market, currently underway, for the film with Icon, which will take U.K. and Australian rights as well as Noble, which will handle the film in Scandinavian countries. Lebanon’s Front Row, meanwhile, picked up the film for the Middle East.

“Everyone involved with ‘Push’ are thrilled to be working with such supportive and passionate distribution partners,” Jose told indieWIRE in Berlin Tuesday morning. “Based on the audience reaction at our screening, ‘Push’ is not just an American story, it travels universally.”

So, it looks like much of Europe will get to see the film, and parts of the Middle East. I expect to read about further deals made for South American, Asian, and hopefully African territories.

The way the case seems to be progressing, as Lionsgate and The Weinsteins battle for rights to the film in our little corner of the world, the rest of humanity just might get to see Push before we do!


REVISITING - Calling For An Autonomous Black Owned & Operated Film Studio

In light of all the discussion generated by my entry on black film festivals, I was reminded of a previous similar piece I wrote just over a year ago that inspired almost as much simultaneous praise and ire from my fellow brothers and sisters of the Diaspora.

In October 2007, I wrote an op-ed for NPR's News Notes, calling for an autonomous, Black-owned and operated film studio, akin to the current group of majors and mini-majors that have dominated, and continue to dominate the industry; one with the same kind of power and control, financing and distributing its own films.

The article was published on their website, where it still resides, and which I still occasionally receive emails about, from those just finding it.

I recall just how quickly the euphoria I felt when NPR notified me that it had been posted, quickly weakened in intensity, as I read the emails and comments of those who balked at the idea, often for perplexing reasons. Some even attacked me personally, calling me an Uncle Tom, uppity, likening me to people like Bill Cosby, labeling me a pariah for supposedly airing our so-called "dirty laundry."

I was disheartened and discouraged by many of the responses; but, thankfully, there were those who championed the idea, applauding my stance, and reinvigorating me in the process - a scene that played out somewhat similarly to all that's happened since last week Friday, when I posted an entry challenging our nation's black film festivals.

I don't claim to have all the answers to all our problems. I'm just one guy with ideas and opinions, and this is my chosen forum to share them. Anyone who knows me well enough understands that I have nothing but our best interests in all that I say and do (and have said and done) with regards to black cinema. And I certainly hope that my words are taken in the spirit of progress and self-empowerment.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit that NPR op-ed piece I wrote in 2007. I haven't read it since it was initially posted; and reading it again after so long, despite seeing a few words and sentences that I may rethink using if asked to write it today, I still feel comfortable with the article's overall sentiment.

Of course, one can argue the merits of race-based solutions to race-based problems - a discussion we have had on this blog, as well as on my podcast, a few times. Alas, race, the social construct that it is, matters, and is unavoidable in the world that we've collectively created for ourselves. So, we're essentially forced to deal with each other, and many of our problems within those myopic limits.

Following below is the entire op-ed piece as it was originally printed on NPR's website, where it still resides. No adjustments or alterations were made to it.

I'm curious to hear how others feel about the ideas within it, today, a year and a few months later.

Here ya go, courtesy of NPR:

Since the early days of cinema, when the Lincoln Motion Picture Company and Oscar Micheaux existed, we haven't seen an autonomous black-owned and operated film entity in this country, akin to the likes of the Hollywood-based studios and their subsidiaries.

As a black filmmaker, I once empathized with the cries of black voices working within the studio system, criticizing it for its lack of diversity. However, the song has become stale, as people like myself, existing outside the system, struggle to understand the apparent lack of vision that some of our well-paid, powerful, influential voices display.

In recent weeks, I've read articles in which black Hollywood elite like Halle Berry, Spike Lee, and Tyler Perry have expressed their frustrations with some aspect of the industry, specific to their race. It seems to me that we've created this unfortunate reality for ourselves, this prison that we've psyched ourselves into, when we clearly have the power to create the kind of truth we yearn for. Instead we wait for a group of devout capitalists to some day realize our plight and intervene accordingly.

Almost 70 years ago, Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar winner, was quoted as saying, "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be one for $7," implying that she was arguably without choice. If black film talent (writers, directors, performers) today are still making somewhat similar statements -- post-Civil Rights Movement, post-Blaxploitation era, post Oscar wins for several black performers; at a time when we have unprecedented access to the production resources necessary, distribution channels, and finances; 70 years after "Mammy" in Gone With the Wind -- if we're still expressing similar sentiments, then we have perhaps regressed instead of progressed. It's a thought that is simultaneously numbing and enraging.

It baffles me that someone like Robert Johnson chooses to jump into bed with the Weinstein Company and JP Morgan Chase, to form his film company -- Our Stories Films, Inc. -- as opposed to building the entity solo (he's certainly capable), or in cooperation with other able African Americans/Africans, in order to make it an unequivocally black-owned and operated entity, as opposed to one that's dependent on the influence of white-owned establishments.

We've risen to the challenge before. In 1973, a film called The Spook Who Sat By the Door was financed through funds raised from black investors. In 1992, when Spike Lee needed money to complete production of Malcolm X, Bill Cosby, Janet Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, and others, collectively came up with approximately $11 million to ensure the completion of the film, since the initial budget approved by Warner Bros. wasn't sufficient. In 1996, the $2.4 million budget for Get on the Bus was financed entirely by contributions from African-American men, including Will Smith, Danny Glover, and Wesley Snipes.

So we've clearly shown the will to mobilize ourselves for a cause, and have done so with some success; it perplexes me why this similar kind of communal effort has not been implemented on a grander scale, and done so more frequently.

An absurd 10 out of the 400 plus films (a paltry 2.5 percent) that have been released this year by the dominant studio system, tell stories primarily about black people, while also being created by black people.

We are still very much the "invisible man" in this powerful medium -- arguably the most influential medium in existence. Cinema informs and educates; and what we learn from the images we see, partially dictates how we relate to each other, especially those whom we rarely interact with. When you're not present, you're not valued, particularly by those in power, who are in positions to create and enforce policies that directly affect us; and when your life is considered unessential, then you're disposable; the victims of Katrina saw this phenomenon play out firsthand.

What I and others like myself are calling for, and trying to crystallize collectively, is a comparable studio that's autonomous, just like any other major/mini film entity -- one that produces, finances, and distributes its own films globally, as opposed to relying on an existing system that's motivated by profit, and has no real incentive to change its modus operandi, nor does it have any allegiance to a single group of people.

We have to become the change that we all say we want to see -- a feat that's more accessible to us than we might realize. It will be a challenge from the beginning, but as long as we don't lose sight of the big picture, it will be a worthwhile effort in the long run.

Fin! Talk amongst yourselves if you like...

PODCAST - Episode 43, Sergio Mims (Black Harvest Film Festival); Sujewa Ekanayake (

Podcast #43

TRT: 60 Minutes

Episode Notes:
Brandon Wilson ( and I spent the hour talking to Sergio Mims, co-founder of the Black Harvest Film Festival (celebrating its 15th year), and Sujewa Ekanayake, writer/director of Date Number one and Indie Film Blogger Roadtrip, as well as editor of

Listen below, or subscribe and download for
FREE via iTunes:

FYI - It's Black History Month!


Yay! It's Black History Month! And you know what that means... every media outlet implements whatever plans they have to celebrate "us," and those who came before "us." And for that, I suppose "we" all should be eternally grateful for the effort. Yay!


Thanks to director Kasi Lemmons and star Don Cheadle, the world became aware of one Emmy Award-winning television and radio talk show host, Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene, in 2007's Talk To Me.

Unfortunately, the film failed in its attempts to capture the essence of the man, his cause, as influenced by the ethos of his day; Greene, as well as his generation, likely deserved better.

If you saw Talk To Me, then you surely have your own opinions of it, which might resemble or differ from mine. But, if you haven't seen it (or even if you have), skip it, and instead watch the documentary titled, Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene, premiering this month on Independent Lens on PBS, in celebration of Black History Month. Get broadcast listings at


Also on Independent Lens this month is another documentary titled Tulia, Texas - about the small town of Tulia, in Texas, obviously, which gained notoriety following a drug sting in July 1999 that rounded up 46 people, forty of whom were African Americans, or about 15% of the town's black population, all based on the word a single white undercover police officer. Some of you may already know that a feature film adaptation based on the real-life events, has been in development for at least a year, with Billy Bob Thornton set to star as the racist white cop, and the always polarizing Halle Berry as an ACLU lawyer who fights to expose police corruption in the case. I wonder if they eventually fall in love, and... you know :o)

John Singleton was once attached to direct, but I later read that Carl Franklin (Devil In A Blue Dress) would helm the project. As of right now, the production is on hold until further notice.


A special treat for you New Yorkers. The Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a screening series from the 6th through the 19th called FADED GLORY: Oscar Micheaux and Black Pre-War Cinema. For obvious reasons, this, I believe, is a must-attend for all of you living in New York City, or planning on being here for any stretch during the next 2 weeks. The series includes films by Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, as well as works by non-black directors, like King Vidor's Hallelujah!, and Vincente Minnelli's Cabin In The Sky, and a few others. In total, 26 films will be screened. Learn more HERE. I'll certainly be present for some of them.

It's Black History Month folks! Yay! Make the most of it and consume all these films that you probably wouldn't get to see anywhere else during any other month. You know very well that once the calendar strikes March 1, we'll go back to being invisible again.

Below is a 20-minute preview of Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene, courtesy of

RANDOM - Will Smith M.I.A in '09?


As I prepped for tonight's podcast, during which Brandon Wilson and I will list and discuss our 5 most anticipated films of 2009, I realized something worth mentioning: Will Smith doesn't have anything scheduled for release this year! Nothing!

So... I did a little more digging and learned that this is the first year he'll be absent from our movie theatre screens, since 1994! In essence, the man has starred in at least one distributed film, every single year, for the past 14 years.

How's that for being prolific?

So, this is something of a noteworthy moment, don't you think?

With 2 films on his 2008 resume, I suppose the man thought it best to disappear in 2009. Good call I say! It's wise to give your fans the opportunity to miss you. Even the great Will Smith isn't immune to that deadly career disease we call overexposure!

IMDB does state that Big Willie has as many as 20 projects "in development!" So, I'll guess that 2010 will be the beginning of another 14-year run! I'm actually not sure what he's working on currently. There has been confirmation of a prequel/sequel to I Am Legend, as well as rumors of a Bad Boys 3, neither of which are at all necessary.

Anyway... just a random factoid on a Monday afternoon!

Carry on...

PODCAST - Attention! Attention!


Once again, your ears are requested tonight, Monday, February 9th, from the 8PM to 9PM hour, when my podcast, The Obenson Report airs live, via BlogTalkRadio.

For this episode (#43):

- Co-host Brandon Wilson (AKA Genius Bastard) and I will list and discuss 5 of our most anticipated films of 2009. Should be fun!

- Sergio Mims, co-founder and programmer for the Black Harvest Film Festival, held annually at the Gene Siskel Center in Chicago, will call in to talk about his festival; and I'm sure we'll get into some overall discussions on black film festivals in general, given the attention my post on black film festivals received.

- And lastly, Sujewa Ekanayake, Mr DIY Filmmaker himself, part of the bloggers network, will talk about the upcoming screenings for 2 of his feature projects - one that I am in, by the way, titled the
Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, which debuts on Tuesday, 2/17, here in New York City. And, we will get into some of Sujewa's DIY impressions, especially with regards to self-distribution, which might be of interest to some of you.

So, do tune in if you can, tonight, Monday, the 9th, from 8PM to 9PM, via BlogTalkRadio.

Of course, those who can't listen live will always be able to download the entire episode via iTunes, within a couple of hours after the show is over. Just open up iTunes on your computer and search for "Obenson Report" in the iTunes store, where you will also find archives of previous shows.


Good Sunday Morning!


It's already sunny and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) here in New York City. That wouldn't be odd if we were in April/May; but we're in February, when one expects frigid temperatures and icy roads. Meteorologists are predicting a relatively warm week, which I'm happy about.

So, what's happened since my previous post on Friday afternoon? Well, you might have heard that there's a little war of words and opinions going on in my previous post on black film festivals. If you haven't been following the thread, head on over there after you read this and catch up.

Other than that, you may or may not have seen the following:

- Tyler Perry is working on a sequel to 2007's Why Did I Get Married, considered by many to be his best work thus far. I'm not a good judge of the man's work, so I'll reserve my comments. I did see Why Did I Get Married, which I reviewed extensively, albeit negatively, on a previous podcast. Wilson Morales at AOL BlackVoices interviewed Mr Perry. In the interview he talks about his motivations for the sequel tentatively called, Why Did I Get Married Too. Ingenious, right? Check out the interview HERE.

- Speaking of Tyler Perry... he's apparently going after Diana Ross to star in a future project, which he says already has a completed script. It's titled A Jazz Man's Blues. No idea what the film is about. But I'm sure a little digging will reveal something. I'm just being lazy right now. When was the last time Diana appeared in anything? Is she even looking for work? Will she accept TP's offer? Do you care?

- Christian Bale finally apologized for his onset tirade, which I'm sure everyone with access to an Internet connection has heard! He appeared on some morning radio talk show, I believe in L.A., and offered the following statement, courtesy of SlashFilm:

“The thing I really want to stress is that I have NO confusion what-so-ever. I was out of order beyond belief. I acted like a punk. I regret that and there is nobody that has heard that tape that is hit harder by it than me. I make no excuses for it, it is inexcusable.”

“In [T2] you will meet Sarah Connor. And she is in an insane asylum—why is she there? Because she is crazy. Now I play John Connor her son, and on the day that all of this happened, the scene that we were doing, I was trying to show a little of that in-the-blood craziness, and it went a little wrong… I took it way too far, and I completely mixed up fact and fiction. I’m half John Connor, I’m half Christian there.”

“I’ve not only talked with [DP Shane Hurlbut], we’ve resolved this completely. That very day we kept working for a number of hours. Listen when I’m saying I’m not coming back on that set if he’s still hired, it’s hot air. I don’t believe that. I have no intention of getting anybody fired.”

“And another thing: a lot of people that I was a bully to this guy. That’s an insult to Shane. He is a big guy. I couldn’t have bullied that guy if I tried. He’s much bigger than me—he’s an ex-friggin football player.”

HAH! So, dude went all split personality on poor Shane Hurlbut! And what kind of name is Hurlbut? Hurl-Butt. Doesn't sound much like a DP to me :o)

- Thanks to Sergio for the heads-up on this one. I won't even comment; I'm sure many of you will have something to say about it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a biopic on the life of civil rights leader, Angela Davis, is in the works. Franco-Algerian producer-writer-director Rachid Bouchareb - relatively unknown around these parts - is the man behind the mission.

Bouchareb, who will produce the movie through his French production company, plans to shoot in summer 2010 with a budget in the region of $20 million to $30 million. The script is by novelist Yasmina Khadra, whose book The Attack has been optioned by Focus Features. No cast is yet attached, but Bouchareb has his lead actress firmly in mind: "I want Beyonce Knowles to play Angela Davis," he said. "It's a great dramatic role for her."

Ahahahaha...! I know, I know... I said I wouldn't comment, but, I couldn't resist! Beyonce as Angela Davis? Come on man! I've watched her "Single ladies" music video countless times, and, she certainly looks and sounds really good in that one, especially when she does that plunging hip swirling dance move. But, Angela Davis? Umm... No.

And before anyone chastises me for dumping on Beyonce... let me say this - there are a dozen other black actresses... genuine actresses... skilled actresses... actresses who could really use the work and the money... who should be considered for what could be such a plump role, before my beloved Beyonce Knowles. What's he basing his decision on? This isn't necessarily a knock against Beyonce. I respect her talents and accomplishments... genuinely so. But it pains me to see good black actresses get passed over, repeatedly - especially for potentially great roles like this one! So, I really hope Beyonce realizes her own limitations and turns down the role, if it is indeed offered.

- Finally, no updates on the tussle between Lionsgate and The Weinsteins over distribution rights for Lee Daniel's Sundance hit, Push. I'm hoping some agreement is reached sooner than later, so that we can see this thing in theatres before all the excitement starts to wane. In the meantime, courtesy of Ms Solshine of the Reel Artsy blog, below is a mash-up of footage from Sundance press conferences and actual, never-before-seen footage from the film. Enjoy: